Perturbed by state`s inaction, Tungjoy villagers refuse to complain against boundary incursion

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IMPHAL, October 9: Even as the international border fencing impasse over loss of land to Myanmar remains to be settled, another issue in relation to the border areas has cropped up this time between Tungjoy village in Senapati district and the neighbouring state of Nagaland.

During a recent trip to Tungjoy village, constructions of Nagaland Arm Police camp, rest camp, water camp and tree plantation by the neighbouring state authorities were witnessed at the disputed boundary area of Tungjoy village in Manipur and Khezhakenoma village in Phek district, Nagaland, said Information Centre for Hill Areas, Manipur president N Rajendro.

Addressing media persons today, he said when urged to come out and apprise the issue before the government; the villagers refused to consider the same.

State Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh will be chairing an all political parties meeting at his office chamber at 4 pm tomorrow on the current Indo-Myanmar border impasse, during which ICHAM has also been invited, he said before adding that the centre will table all border related issues including the Tungjoy issue, he said.

The villagers reasoned that even though complaints and memorandums have been submitted to the state on numerous counts, the authorities have failed to take any action, although everytime such complaints are made, violent actions of the Nagaland Armed Police against the villagers only increase, he  put forth.

Villagers of Tungjoy are allegedly threatened and assaulted by the Nagaland Arm Police whenever complaints against them are made, he claimed.

Elaborating further on the issue, he said that there has been an aged old boundary dispute between Tungjoy village and Khezhakenoma in Phek district, Nagaland since the early part of the 19th century.

The said dispute was first brought up in the year 1934 as a political case under Political Case No 41 of 1934 between Selu GB of village Khezhakenoma and Tungjoy village in Manipur, before the Deputy Commissioner, Naga Hills represented by GH Hutton and President of the Manipur State Durbar represented by GP Stewart and the said case was settled based on the survey map of 1924, he said.

It was settled that the land covered by the main channel of the Bodu Stream being part of the Bodu-3 (Kabujekeri) of the eastern side of the channel and the land of the triangle formed by Bodu-2 belong to Tungjoy in Senapati, Manipur, he continued.

Further elaborating, the ICHAM president said that in 1952, the concerned DCs directed the villagers of both villages not to cross the boundaries until the matter was settled.

Later in December 1991, the DCs of Senapati and Phek districts were also instructed by the higher authorities to maintain law and order until the issue would get settled, he said.

Though the Tungjoy villagers have abided by the order till date, the state of Nagaland has deployed Nagaland Police inside the disputed land of Tungjoy and constructed dams, police camps, water tank, tree plantations and fencing and resting camp, the ICHAM president said.

The Nagaland authorities have also constructed roads and taken up electrification inside the disputed area, thereby encroaching on the boundary of the village without prior information and also without any authority of law, he further claimed. While the Nagaland government has posted a police station, an extra Assistant Commisssioner Office at Khezhakenoma village and a Border Magistrate at Zaketsa as a part of protection of their vilagers in case any boundary dispute and any other untoward incidents occur, however, our state government is yet to take up any action, he claimed.

He further said that the villagers have urged the government to deploy an IRB or MR battalion in the area so as to assist the villagers during any incursion from the Nagaland side.

During the trip it was also witnessed that there was a proper road constructed from Tungjoy towards Nagaland, however there were none from Tungjoy inside the state, he said pointing out that it would be proper for the state to construct a road at the earliest.

He said the villagers also lamented the failure of the government to look into the issues of various incursions including the construction of guest house at Dzuko valley and construction of roads in Manipur territory.

Meanwhile, some villagers also viewed that the failure of the government to act swiftly on the appeals of the people could have been a reason for the people to feel alienated from the valley people of the state, he said.

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